Today, I did something I’ve done numerous times before. I drove over to my polling place, signed in, and cast my vote. That makes me one of the people who will decide who our next President will be. It will also determine who is my Senator, Representative, State Senator, and Assemblyman. None of them will know how I voted, but there is one thing they will know: I voted. As I said in earlier posts, it’s something that does matter.
In the past, I’ve been known to split the ticket. I didn’t always vote the straight line. There were various reasons I did that, but in general, even though I’ve been a registered Democrat for over 30 years, I try to vote for the “best person for the job.” That’s why I voted for President Obama this year, he’s the best person for the job. But I also voted the straight party line this year. Why? Because of what the Republican Party has become.
Since the election of President Obama in 2008, I have watched the Republican Party not just go off the rails, but enter an alternate reality. A party welded to the idea that all government is bad, we need to have a state religion, deny science, and indulge in the most blatant racism and conspiracy theories. I’ve watched in horror as they propose dismantling social “safety nets” and regulatory structures. Never before have I seen a President’s birthplace, religion, or academic record questioned. Yet it all happened, and Republicans aided and abetted it.
Then came this year, and their party’s nominee for President: Mitt Romney. A candidate who refused to tell us what his plan was, beyond “cut taxes.” What few things he did talk about were derided by every economist as “mathematically impossible.” A candidate whose lack of transparency was astonishing. Someone who lied constantly, whose positions often changed in mid-speech.
He never came up with reasons why people should vote for him, just reasons why they should vote against the President. That really isn’t enough. But it’s not just him, it’s the rest of his party. The nutcases they’re running, and the obvious clues that this is the Republican Party these days. Against environmental laws, against women’s rights, against financial regulations, against fair pay, against … well, a lot of things. They are, however, for putting a strict biblical interpretation into our schools, and plenty of guns. David Frum puts it this way:
If you believe a “real conservative” message is a winner, shouldn’t you right now be publicly urging Mitt Romney to say out loud : YES I will cut taxes for the rich, YES I will cut Medicaid, YES I will reinvent Medicare as a voucher system, YES I will favor a human life amendment to ban abortion in all cases, YES I believe it’s a major priority to reverse same-sex marriage, YES i was right to say let the auto industry go bankrupt, NO I don’t believe in global warming, NO I don’t think it’s important we cover the uninsured, NO I think we have enough immigrants already, NO I won’t withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, NO I don’t think we should provide the existing level of food stamps and income support to the unemployed, etc. etc. etc.
That’s “conservative” message, and why I voted straight ticket for Democrats this year. The days when the debates were “how best to pay for this,” whether a regulation was need needed – or should be changed – among many other things are gone. Back then, both sides acknowledged an objective reality. The problem is that the Republicans no longer do that, and until they do, there is no reason for me to vote for one.